Boys Soccer: Eagles control attack, but Scots claim victory

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Aidan Rausch fires a ball toward the Windham net.

WINDHAM—The Eagles controlled much of the action vs. the visiting Scots on Saturday morning, Sept. 23, but Bonny Eagle’s back line held up admirably, and their forwards and middies put together enough pressure to capture a W. Andrew Ettinger scored for the Scots to break a 1-1 tie and Zac Allocca gave them an insurance goal on a PK to secure the 3-1 final.

“I’m proud of our players,” Windham head coach Wally LeBlanc said. “We have a nice style of play, and we keep growing in our style of play. We really try to spread the field and possess the ball and we’re getting better at it. That helped us against another ball-possession team, Bonny Eagle. But I would say, their key players, when they get a chance, they know how to finish. I give them all the credit.”

Windham pressured heavily throughout the game, and outshot the Scots. Not enough of those shots came from in close, however: Bonny Eagle’s defense did a fine job repelling their hosts, often keeping them 20-30 yards at bay and forcing them to fire off attempts from those distances.

“I think us playing a tough game last night against Sanford took a great deal of energy out of us,” Robertson said. “And I’d say that our back line, there’s good leadership, and we’re able to get in our shape quick enough; we just weren’t able to break out fast enough because of the fact that we played last night.”

“I’ll live with giving kids 25-yard shots, 30-yard shots,” Robertson added. “I’ll live with that all day long. I’ll take my hat off to you if you put it in from there.”

“You want to finish; you don’t want to just shoot,” LeBlanc said. “You generate scoring opportunities, but you also have to know how to finish. That’s a sign of maturity. That’s an area need to grow in. Having said that, one of our best scorers, Tyler Woolston, is away on a college trip today. That’s another piece of the puzzle. Maybe that would’ve helped us, if he was in this lineup. But I like that, despite him not being with us, the boys were up for the game.”

For their part, Bonny Eagle’s attack came largely in the form of stabs upfield – and yet, they got on the board first. The Scots went up 1-0 on an Allocca strike not long after the start of the game.

Robertson described the goal: “They were pushing up high, Windham,” he said. “And we were able to counter pretty quickly…It’d just been one ball back, into the midfield – Regan McCleary had gotten the ball; it went from Regan to Chris Westgate. Zac Allocca was playing on the back shoulder of their centerbacks and the ball was just played through and he got the ball and slotted it home.”

Windham returned fire at 10:12, when Evan Glicos – at the ready, out front of Scots keeper Connor Redlon – wheeled and got a foot on a midair ball, an inward volley by Jake Conley. Glicos’s redirect snuck past Redlon at the bottom-left corner of the net for 1-1.

But the Scots regained the lead with under a minute to play before the break, when Ettinger settled an arcing ball to earn himself a duel, a one-on-one faceoff, with Windham netminder Alex Wilkins – a faceoff which Ettinger won.

“We had a couple breakdowns; they absolutely led to goals,” LeBlanc said. “And if you want to win a game, it’s not just about possessing, it’s about limiting your mistakes. So we need to limit our mistakes a little bit more. That’s not placing blame on any one of our players; those are just areas for growth.”

Allocca’s PK notch (at 27:28) followed a controversial call on a collision between two players near the Windham endline. Still, the call was the call, and Allocca’s notch counted just as much as any other.

Actually, in a sense, it counted more: Falling behind by two clearly rattled the Eagles, and they faltered in applying the pressure they’d ably applied all game. The Scots seized on the lapse, going on the offense for 10 minutes or so. 

“The official has the right to make the call,” LeBlanc said. “It is what it is and I’ll respect the official and respect his call. It’s a tough PK when you’re down 2-1, for sure. I do think it was questionable…I felt, in the two-man system, he was too far down the field to accurately make that call. I was suggesting to him that the player took a dive, and he was suggesting it’s a foul. 

“But in the end, it’s his call to make and not mine. And that’s really not where our focus is; our focus is trying to finish some of those goals. We finish our goals, and we get ours, and we don’t have to worry about a PK call.”

“Once the PK went in, that was a two-goal lead for us,” Robertson said. “And at that point, [Windham] had one or two opportunities that were really solid, but other than that, they were getting deeper shots. Thinking that now they had to go out and score two goals – that’s always difficult for any team, I don’t care who the team is. I would definitely say that was the point in the game that really solidified it for us.”

“The goal changed things,” LeBlanc said. “Because now you’re down 3-1, and you had the flow of play, and anytime you have the flow of play and the other team gets a goal, mentally it has an impact on your team. So for a while, we got out of our attacking play, maybe feeling a little sorry for ourselves. But what I was proud of was, they worked through that. They started the flow of play again and started getting some shots.”

Bonny Eagle jumped to 5-2 with the triumph. The Scots currently rank sixth in A South, just back from Cheverus and just ahead of Deering. They welcomed Westbrook on Tuesday the 26th and travel to Marshwood on the 28th, then have the better part of a week off before visiting South Portland on the 5th. 

Robertson praised a handful of his boys. “Regan McCleary had a good game today; Aidan Rausch had a good game. Andrew Ettinger, I thought he played well today; when he came in as a sub, he gave us some good minutes.”

Windham slipped to 1-6. The Eagles have been in most of their matchups, losing by just one apiece to Kennebunk and Sanford, and two apiece to Deering and now Bonny Eagle. Windham hosted South Portland on the 26th. They dropp in on Scarborough on the 28th, and welcome Thornton on the 3rd.

LeBlanc also patted some of his boys on the back. “Hayden Bilodeau, as a ninth-grader, was playing way above himself today. I’m very pleased with Nick Rose and Andrew Sawyer; just thought they did a wonderful job. And the person who really stepped up for us – he asked what he needed to do better and we gave him some suggestions – was Owen Flibbert. I was really proud of the corrections he made in his game today.”

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME

Aidan Rausch fires a ball toward the Windham net.

Zac Allocca unwinds on his fateful PK.

Andrew Pendleton (left) and Nick Rose careen shoulder-to-shoulder upfield.

Windham’s Evan Glicos battles Bonny Eagle’s Deytric Enking for possession.

Bonny Eagle’s James Conley and Windham’s Natan Lima chase down a chest-level ball.

Windham’s Andrew Wing heads a ball forward, out of reach for Bonny Eagle’s Cam MacDonald.

Scot Ethan Hamilton and Eagle Andrew Sawyer vie for a ball.

Bonny Eagler James Conley and Windhamite Owen Flibbert descend on a ball simultaneously.

Scot Ben Sullivan and Eagle Liam McCusker clash.

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